The Royal red prawn fishery is effort-driven with frequent lack of demand and low wholesale prices resulting in a relatively lightly fished stock. Several endorsed fishers have indicated in recent conversations, that it has not been worth while to target Royal reds since 2000. The current low market demand and hence value of Royal red prawns can be attributed to variable quality of product and poor market recognition.
Royal red prawns are reputed to have an excellent sweet flavour and acceptable texture however, being a deep-water species, quality degradation is rapid when the prawns are brought to the surface. Hence, customary post-harvest handling practices for prawns could be insufficient to retain quality of Royal reds.
The Royal red resource is clearly under-utilised currently and has potential for value-addition. To gain further benefit and revenue from harvest of this prawn species, effective on-board handling practices need to be determined that limit the rate of quality deterioration and therefore retain maximum quality of product.
This project is designed to develop handling and post-harvest practices, identify preferred product format and establish domestic and international market opportunities to benefit the NSW deep-water prawn fishery, holders of Royal red prawn quota in the SESSF, and the developmental fishery in Queensland.
The research team determined that the Royal Red Prawn has a clear point of difference to the majority of current commercial species of prawns in Australia, and this point of difference is not being adequately exploited by the current supply chain for the prawn. The research team determined that these unique and distinctive qualities would be worth investigating further towards directing this prawn to the fine dining and food service sector specifically.